My Linky Brain. Why Did Nobody Tell Me?
I’ve been on a decade long journey of trying to understand me. How I ‘think’ has been the most important bit.
There are people that have brains that make leaps and are wired non-linearly and:
1/ they dont know it
2 / they can feel isolated and underutilised in linear institutions
Who I am
People say I have done Ok. I have built — and am still building — a multi million £ innovation business with Tom and Andrew, run a VC fund that has invested in ‘unicorns-to-be’ like Citymapper, bought a company that is a money printing machine for M&C Saatchi and have made a bunch of interesting personal investments — from property to bitcoin.
HOWEVER I feel like I have done nothing yet as I have at least a little bit of imposter syndrome and for years felt a bit stupid working in big company machines sitting in meetings I didn’t understand. Here is what I have learnt about how I really am :-
1/ I am a total non-linear thinker. I connect things all the time– dots…people, things, ideas, opportunities.
2/ I see answers instantly and do not know how I got there. They just appear.
3/ I have to work hard at post rationalising logic backwards. I can do it but it eats energy.
4/ I have a massive ‘bias to action’. I like to throw things to the world and see what they think so I can then make them better
5/ I have an insane amount of energy.
6/ I am way more impressive on stage without having prepared anything. Weird.
7/ I have to constantly test and learn because the moment I commit something to paper my brain thinks of 40 ways it can be better.
8/ I am at my best when i wander and open myself to serendipity until something big bites. I am lucky to be able to do this.
9/ I am a natural contrarian. My instinct is to run from crowds.
10/ I only accept ‘conventional wisdom’ once I really understand it. I’ve realised a lot of people don’t do this.
11/ When I am intellectually curious i become obsessed and crazy productive. I need to learn about it and can learn things really quickly.
12/ …until i get the 80% I need. I am then bored and need to learn something new.
13/ I am a generalist who will never be the best at anything, but can be unique as I am good at a lot of intersecting things (btw Scott Adams has a great post on how to build a career off this).
14/ I am always looking for shortcuts. I will find people I trust who have already ‘seen the path ahead’ to form a view. This may be lazy or clever. Or both?
15/ I am super happy holding multiple opinions at once. And changing my mind when facts change. To me this is normal.
16/ I am a massive extrovert AND a massive introvert. 50/50. Often in the same evening I will be the life of the party and then hide away for 2 hours.
17 / I am best in white space. I much prefer to play before things are too crowded.
18/ I “hunt antelopes not field mice”. I am interested in doing big things in the world. Small things struggle to hold my interest.
19/ I always start with assuming that we live in chaos and cannot predict the future. This enables me to only analyse risk, and never assume i know.
20/ The biggest thing I have learnt is to stop trying to prove i am clever and to ‘stay in my lane’. Just keep repeating the things I am naturally good at.
Since i realised I have this brain I have noticed that work feels less like work.
I notice many of these traits in entrepreneurs I meet. Most don’t know they have a gift. They are artists but can feel alienated in the ‘normal’ world.
The interesting thing is most never question how they are wired or how they think. I wonder how may more could change the world with the right opportunity and support structures?